Workshop Experiments (T1)

Using the workshop to experiment with designs and materials through making.

Impression Compound

Images 1 to 7 show stages of the process for making a mould and then a cast of my hand. This cast was achieved using alginate impression compound, mixing the powder substance with water until it creates a strange jelly like texture. I then put my hand in the bucket with the alginate and waited for it to set. It set to a rubber or silicone type consistency. After removing my hand, I mixed some gypsum plaster and poured it in. I had heard if you poured an initial amount into the mould, swirled it around and then made a second pour it would give a different texture when setting. Well, this was not the case. Unfortunately, my swirling resulted in the jelly textured alginate to slip right out of the bucket. I placed the alginate compound back in the bucket and proceeded with my second pour. After waiting for it to dry, I removed the hardened alginate from the plaster to reveal my hand model. Unfortunately, the plaster had started to set by this time, so the resulting model of my hand had some parts of fingers missing and a couple which looked to be hollow due to my first pour. Still, it was an enjoyable learning process and something I would definitely try again.

Continuing Experiments

I continued my bending and etching using the laser cutting machine with acrylic materials. Laser etching on acrylic creates an interesting textural change which I’ve painted partially in white to emphasise the texture (image 10). This textural effect is significantly different on the acrylic than with card as seen in images on page 4. I made cut outs in the acrylic to help with bending, and held the acrylic over a heated wire to soften. In future experiments I would like to use something like a heat gun and soften the acrylic over a solid form to see if I can be more successful.

Next, I tried vacuum forming plastic sheet over block to create mould (images 13-14). Then I using both jesmonite in variety of colours and plaster in different versions of the same mould (Images 15-19). Jesmonite poured into a shiny mould creates a somewhat shiny texture (image 20).

Carving Discretely

In these images I told the shop technicians I was looking to make a small bowling pin, when in reality I was experimenting with a shape and size for my youFab adult toy submission. I was interested in ways I could make a model, in this case by carving it out of a large piece of balsa wood. Next steps: It may be possible to use the alginate to make a mould, or cut the balsa model in half and use it to make two vacuum formed moulds to put together later and then pour silicone to make a model.